Mal de Debarquement Syndrome and roadtrips

One of the most unique symptoms of Mal de Debarquement Syndrome is the relief of symptoms from driving. I often feel my best when driving and I never realized it was connected to my MdDS until I was actually diagnosed and realized that was a common affect.

This week, I took a quick road trip to Seattle (from Portland) with my parents and a brother (he had an appointment with a specialist at the Children’s hospital there). I get very nervous going on road trips, as ever since my second concussion I’ve gotten very motion sick sitting in the back seat, a little motion sick sitting in the passenger seat, and zero motion sickness if I’m driving. The only way I’ve found I can sit in the back seat without symptoms is to be so exhausted I conk out.

My mom, for health reasons has to sit in the passenger seat, which means that 99% of the time I’m driving. Thankfully, this normally isn’t an issue, as I like to drive.

However, with my recent head re-bonking, I knew I wasn’t going to be up to driving the 3 hour drive to Seattle (and back). On our way up, I avoided taking a nap all day so that my brain would be exhausted enough that I would hopefully be able to sack out in the back seat while my dad drove, and indeed, the plan worked. I slept the first hour, and then drove the last two. However, on the way back down, I couldn’t sleep, and ended up closing my eyes for an hour and listening to the story while my dad drove, and amazingly it worked! I was able to last over an hour this way. I also at times, would stare out the left window (I was sitting on the left side) and I felt like that was slightly therapeutic as it imitated my MdDS exercises at the functional neurology.

This was incredibly encouraging progress that makes me hope eventually I’ll be able to ride in the back seat for hours at a time without keeping my eyes closed. Oh the things we take for granted!